Not all of us that are on the spectrum are unable to show empathy.
I myself am extremely empathetic. To a fault sometimes.
I'm Suzie. I live on the Gold Coast, I am 53 years young and have three amazing adult sons. One having been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, mild Tourettes, depression, anxiety, and Aspergers and the youngest one, I am positive is also on the spectrum and also has been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and mild Tourettes. My other son has OCD, anxiety and has bouts of depression.
I always have from an early age felt "different, "weird," the "black sheep" and as though there was something wrong with me. I've struggled through life with understanding people in general. Like they don't always make sense to me, and I found myself preferring to be alone just drawing....a lot. I could draw for hours at a time, it was kind of a comfortable place to be.
I didn't really know how I should act or respond to others and different situations. I mean, everyone else seemed to know what they were doing, me, I just seemed to fumble through the day aimlessly. I would watch how the other kids would act, their mannerisms, their expressions, etc and I would copy them, so I would appear to understand what was going on around me, even though at times I had absolutely no idea what they were on about. I now know that this was me masking.
I was the clumsy one. Forever falling over. I'd trip over everything, and I still do to this day. I can spot a ladybird on a leaf 10 foot away but will fall over the boulder right in front of me. I was the overly sensitive one. The one who threw tantrums and felt misunderstood. I didn't feel like I fitted in, anywhere, I felt like the "black sheep." I got diagnosed with OCD in my late teens, along with chronic depression, chronic anxiety and mild tourette's in my adult life. I have struggled most of my life with anxiety, and even as a child was extremely nervous and would feel sick, have stomach aches a lot. And was on medication for hyperactivity.
At the age of 52, in February this year, I was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADHD. This was the day of unveiling. The day I found out who this girl really was, who she'd grown to become and who she'd lost in the process. I was so happy and relieved to know that I wasn't "weird," I wasn't somehow "less" I was, in fact, Autistic! What a truly freeing moment it was when I heard those words! That's who I am, that's the little girl who had been trapped for all those years. The precious little one who just wanted to fit in and be accepted and understand. I was free, free to be that child that I should have been. I could now accept the "real " me!!
Over the next few weeks, my elation seemed to dull and made room for a deep feeling of grief. Grief for my younger self. The child who had to put her real identity behind her and put on a magnificent performance of the sorts. The child I could have been if only we'd known. But of course that couldn't happen. So I prayed a lot and trusted a lot. And realised it was time to put on my big girl pants on, accept it, and move forward, making the rest of my life a true representation of me. No more masking, no more pretending, just the real me. I no longer have to hide my true identity! And it feels amazing!!!!!!
So for me, I now embrace the things I do, the stimming, the arm flapping, the childlike views of life, my quirkiness, my in-depth love and obsession for animals, the bare feet whenever possible and even the vacant stares when I have no clue what's going on. You know what? Now I can accept them all, I love them all, I love who I am, I love that I now make no excuses for who I am and I am embracing "me" with both hands. Taking off all the masks that have been repeatedly placed on my face over time. I FINALLY ACCEPT ME! AND I NOW LOVE ME! I am who I am, and I'm ok with that. I am learning so much about myself and look forward to learning more!
The saying goes......Different, not less!!